How to Decorate Plastic Jars

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Let your kids help decorate plastic jars to give as gifts.
Let your kids help decorate plastic jars to give as gifts. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Instead of tossing out the empty plastic jar that held your peanut butter or pickles, recycle it into an attractive home-decor item. Using scrapbooking and craft supplies, it’s easy to turn an item that would end up clogging a landfill into something useful – and it’s an ideal craft to complete with the kids. Decorate several plastic jars in a variety of sizes to create a display for a shelf, or use holiday-themed supplies to decorate jars for gift-giving.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean plastic jars
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Fabric
  • Cardstock
  • Patterned paper
  • Spray adhesive
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun
  • Epoxy adhesive
  • Craft embellishments, such as letter stickers, ribbons, silk flowers, shells etc.

Clean the jars using soap and water, and rinse thoroughly. Allow the jars to dry completely.

Paint the jar lid with acrylic paint in a color that coordinates with the other jar decorations. You may need to apply multiple coats for complete coverage. Allow the paint to dry.

Trim a piece of fabric or a sheet of colored cardstock or patterned paper to fit around the jar. Cut the paper so there is a slight overlap when you wrap the paper around the jar; one half to an inch of extra paper ensures that the paper will cover the whole jar.

Spray one side of the paper with spray adhesive. Spray the adhesive in a thin, even layer, holding the can at least 10 to 12 inches away from the paper to prevent drips. Follow the manufacturer instructions for the adhesive; in some cases, you may need to let the adhesive sit for a few minutes before adhering to the jar to ensure a strong bond.

Adhere the adhesive-coated paper to the jar. Work slowly, making the paper straight.

Add embellishments to the jar. Use stickers, ribbons, silk flowers, adhesive rhinestones or other craft supplies to add interest to the jar or identify the jar contents. For example, use alphabet stickers to spell out “Lunch Money” on a jar meant to store funds for school lunches.

Decorate the painted jar lid. Use hot glue or epoxy to add silk flowers, sea shells or other three-dimensional objects to add interest and texture to the jar lid.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using spray adhesive to attach the decorative fabric or paper to plastic ensures that the covering is smooth. Using hot glue or epoxy also provides a strong bond, but the surface may have bumps or bubbles.
  • Supervise young children when you are working with hot glue, spray adhesive and small craft pieces.

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